08/21/11 140 W, 2 I - + 2 - 3 Here's Your Big One

Saw this photo in a posting on Firegeezer yesterday. Was taken by Heather Harley-Davidson-- how's that for a great name!-- for Jacksonville's Florida Times-Union on Friday. The incident involved a service station, a fuel tanker, and above-ground storage tanks. How many of the latter are around here, by the way?

Heather Harley-Davidson/Florida Times-Union photo
How hot was the spot that the photographer standing? Looking closely, it appears conditions were comfortable for a passing bicyclist and someone in a bright yellow-green shirt. Observer the scene tape. Hot zone starts here, no duh. Where's the police? They're probably securing the many roads the approaching the scene. Where are all the spectators? They probably ran for their lives. Read the posting on Firegeezer, and the story in the Florida Times-Union.

Heather Harley-Davidson/Florida Times-Union photo

Reminds me of the fire outside of Wilson, NC in Contentnea; in the early 1990’s. A MC 306 tanker by a country store. Big Fire (some may remember). Mike may have some history on that one for readers’ interest.
A.C. Rich - 08/21/11 - 11:34

Interesting you say that A.C. Retired Chief Phil Lewis loved showing a video of that to his students at Wilson Tech in the fire program. I bet I watched it at least three times.
Marcus - 08/21/11 - 20:19

No dice on web searches for that tanker fire. Anyone got even a definite year for the thing? Tell me more about the incident.
Legeros - 08/21/11 - 20:21

Seems like that tanker fire was around ’94 or ’95 while I was going to Wilson Tech. Driver didn’t ground the truck properly while off loading if thats the one I am thinking of.
gen3fire - 08/21/11 - 21:37

Marcus, I am surprised Chief Lewis had time to show a video when he wasn’t talking about fishing with his grandkids. :) I enjoyed his classes. I wonder how he is doing.
gen3fire - 08/21/11 - 21:40

The fire was at the Roney Williams Store on NC 42 heading out of Wilson towards Clayton. A.C. was right it was in the Contentnea Fire District with mutual aid response by the City of Wilson Fire / Rescue Services. KC is right about the approximate years, not sure which though. As for Chief Lewis, he is doing great and still teaching, fishing and talking about his grandkids! Marcus and KC, come see us sometime. Phil teaches Monday/Tuesday classes. We are now located above the library with new classrooms and lab space. Glad you guys seem to be doing well.
D.Cates - 08/21/11 - 22:19

A little more searching shows April 1995 as the date of the episode of American Heat that featured footage from the fire. So 1994-1995 sounds right.
Legeros - 08/21/11 - 22:22

Dead on David! I have a copy of the uncut video too and have showed it endless times in HM Ops classes over the years. The video was from a WTVD news crew that was just passing by and caught the early stages of the fire. The video is a fantastic tool for teaching fire behavior in 306 tankers. The video was also on American Heat. The fire started (ironically) when Capt. Eudy and I were teaching one of RFD’s initial Ops Plus classes at Station 20. I believe it was late November or early December 1994. You can see what appears as snow flurries on the video.
A.C. Rich - 08/21/11 - 22:30

Holy Stromboli Batman! You know that firetrucks bun is baking on that scene! Running for you life would probably be a good idea…. but what fun is there in that? If I were in the area, id probably take my shirt off and ride my bad to the bone BMX around the area…... wait…..
Capt. Chaos (Web Site) - 08/21/11 - 23:14

There was also a big incident in Franklin County a number of years ago. It was at L.H. Dickens Propane. White Level Fire Department is located right beside it. There was a video of that too. Centerville had a old International gas tanker with straight pipe stacks that was talking out loud on the video. Hey AC remember the orginal Bertha that Rolesville had that come from Jones Dairy. Dad and Jimmy Gay could make that sound off too.
Rob Mitchell - 08/22/11 - 19:17

Wonder how easily we could convert some of that old video footage to digital files? I would be happy to host on my YouTube account, copyright issues notwithstanding
Legeros - 08/22/11 - 19:24

I remember Big Bertha well!! Mike – I can get you the VHS copy I have and you may digitize it!
A.C. Rich - 08/22/11 - 20:05

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